A millisecond is really short — every tick of the clock contains a thousand of them. In the time it took you to register that fact, 500 or more shot by. And yet, milliseconds can make the difference between someone visiting your website or giving up and hitting your competitor. With such a tiny margin of error, anything you can do to make your slow website load faster, by even a little, can make a big difference.
A few years ago Walmart ran an analysis of their web speeds as a part of a general performance review. They discovered that for every 100 ms improvement in speed they achieved, their incremental revenue grew by roughly 1%. Considering that the eCommerce giant makes $10 billion in online sales a quarter, each 100 ms increase is worth 100 million dollars!
The reason’s not hard to deduce. People are impatient, and growing more so all the time. If we have to wait more than three seconds for a site, a lot of us are moving on. 40% of us, in fact. And each second of additional load time drives that percentage up further.
So even though milliseconds are too tiny to register, they count, in a big way. Here are three things you can do right now to make your slow website load faster. Your prospects, your customers, and your bottom line will all thank you.
Make Your Slow Website Load Faster By Using a CDN
A CDN, or content delivery network, reduces the amount of time it takes for users to access your site by localizing delivery. Without a CDN, visitors must download your website files directly from your server. If your website is hosted in California and someone visits from Scotland, the data has to travel halfway around the world.
CDNs like Cloudflare and Bunny.net have servers at various points across the planet that house local copies of all of your static page elements — those that don’t change like images and other media. When someone accesses your site, the CDN figures out which server is closest to them and serves the static content locally. This reduces lag time and increases performance. Plus, Cloudflare is free!
Reduce HTTP Requests by Minifying and Combining Files
Anyone that’s ever tried to think clearly while their child repeats the same question over and over again can understand how frequent requests can bog a system down. This is quite true for websites.
Sloppy site architectures can bloat file counts. This often happens using a website builder tool. They simplify site creation but can generate a lot of unnecessary files. For example, you might have multiple CSS files that can be combined into one, saving HTTP requests.
Minifying takes things a step further. Minify looks for repeated code strings, white space, and other unnecessary characters in your code. The tool strips these out to reduce file sizes, decreasing load times.
If you have a WordPress website you can reduce these requests easily using the WP Rocket plugin. This handy tutorial will walk you through the process to help make your website load faster. While you’re at it, make sure that Gzip compression and asynchronous downloads are enabled. The first further reduces file sizes and the second allows browsers to download multiple files simultaneously.
Reduce Image Sizes to Make Your Slow Website Load Faster
Oftentimes, images and other graphics make up a sizeable percentage of a website’s bulk. Reducing their footprint can dramatically shrink your website and speed up load times.
Make sure to size your images properly. You don’t want your HTML to take a large image file and shrink it to display in a small space. This unnecessarily pads your site’s size. If your site holds a place for a 100 px wide image, make sure the image is only 100 px wide.
You’ll also want to make certain to compress your images as much as possible, without reducing display quality. Again, if you’re a WordPress user, you can lean on plugins. Imagify is a good example. It compresses and optimizes any images you upload to your site.
If your website is designed in something other than WordPress, you can use services like Compressor.io to accomplish the same thing. The smaller your image files, the faster they load, and if you have a lot of them, that can make a big difference on the way to making your slow website load faster.
These three tips are a great starting point. Moz has a bunch of other suggestions that are worth checking out. Remember, every precious millisecond counts when you have a slow website! Trim them ruthlessly and watch your traffic, conversions, and leads skyrocket.